The article about used cars not worth buying creates a lot of emotion. Some argue that it is easier to say “there is no point in buying a classic car.” This is not true, as there are many models that are worth buying despite their somewhat advanced age. The list is very long from this article, i hope you enjoy it.
The Best Classic Cars
Not everyone can afford a $ 5,500 car, and many people want to spend half that amount and own a pretty good classic vehicle. They can buy something small and relatively modern, but there are a few larger cars on the market that still need attention. I did an overview of all car classes, excluding certain sports and off-road cars.
I have prepared a list of attractive models to be interested in despite their advanced age. Old stuff – some would say. However, their owners value, above all, solid construction and reliability, and often also low operating costs. Traditionally, corrosion was a problem with these cars, so you have to turn a blind eye to it. Much depends on its specifics and history – something that in most cases cannot be avoided.
The selection is difficult. Here are the assumptions that the classic car had to meet in order to appear on this list:
- The minimum age of 15 years, which is the youngest age group, is 2001
- Great choice for used aftermarket units
- Rugged structure and low operating costs
- It is possible to buy it in good technical condition
- Maybe the potential for young people
Regarding age, I assumed that it was really about classic cars. I only made one exception, which was the end of production in 2002, but this is the right case with an unmissable model off this list. I chose a car model that I can recommend to anyone with a clear conscience.
If there is a certain version that doesn’t meet the conditions, it will be checked. I only chose classic cars that I could still buy in good condition, although it wasn’t always easy. That’s why you won’t find, for example, the Renault 21 on the list. Please check it out.
Audi 80 B3 and B4
- Produced in: 1986–1991 (B3) and 1991–1996 (B4)
- Price: $ 405 – $ 4,000 (does not apply to convertibles and coupes)
- Price for a good one: From $ 2,000
- Potential for young people: Certainly yes, but to be more precise B3
I’m omitting the convertible and coupé here, which can be treated separately, but the classic sedan and station wagon are still valuable, even though they are very outdated vehicles. First of all, they are armored. What if, but none of the Audi A4, which is the successor to the 80 series model, does not achieve the slightest bit in terms of durability. No weird technique, multi-hook, and electronic overload.
Although the market is dominated by a bad version with a watch instead of a tachometer, you can find this classic car with both air conditioning and electricity. B3 gasoline engine driven by a carburetor or injection (mechanical and electronic). Newer B4 only has injection (single point or multiple points).
The classic B3 has a simple, low-power diesel engine with an output of up to 80 HP, while the iconic TDI engine with direct injection and 90 HP power makes its debut on the B4. Iconic car at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. Although production ended in 1996, the B3 and B4 models still deserve attention.
If the Audi 80 especially the B4 version got corroded, it was only because it was fixed with a sheet metal base, because the galvanized body was practically indestructible. As is the case with the whole car, which offers good travel conditions for 4 passengers and 430-450 liters of luggage (B4-B3). In the last generation of eighty, the station wagon with a small luggage compartment with a capacity of 370 liters made its debut. A Quattro version is also available for a smaller size.
Why is it worth buying the Audi 80?
As all the classic cars from this period, this one rusty the least, and although it is quite old (the youngest is 20 years old), the design is quite safe and practical. Mileage doesn’t matter anymore, and it’s never thought about. It is necessary to pay attention to the relatively high price. This also proves how much the most valued model is the eighty. People looking for such a classic car can count on a sizeable offering from the market.
What do we recommend?
As a classic car for everyday driving, I recommend the economical 1.6 petrol and diesel versions, especially the B4 TDI. The attractive quattro variant with permanent four-wheel drive is noteworthy. As a youngster, the best choices would be the Audi 80 B3 (any variant) or B4 in the more powerful petrol version of 2 liters and above.
Audi 100 and A6 C4
- Produced in: 1990–1994 (100) and 1994–1997 (A6)
- Price: $ 550- $ 4,000
- Price for a good one: From $ 2,200
- Potential for young people: Maybe yes, but Audi 100
Another classic Audi? This is because we have to have representatives from the upper middle class, although I will disclose that the 100 / A6 model will not be the only one. The car was built according to an old rule that no one adheres to today – it had to be comfortable and sturdy.
This classic car is very durable, the engine is practical and very reliable. Galvanized bodies will not rust unless repaired. Since 1994, the car has been given the designation A6, which has been in use all this time, but for the C4 that doesn’t mean there have been major changes.
Today, it can be a younger car (it would be better if the Audi 100) and a spacious family car or a comfortable, elegant, but simple limousine. There is a lot of space in the cabin, and the equipment can be impressive. The comfortable seats and large trunk are worthy of attention, although this only applies to sedans offering a capacity of 510 liters.
Unfortunately, the same doesn’t apply to the Avant variant, which offers only 390 liters, but is measured down the window line. Lower station carriages were almost standard at the time. Just look at Volvo’s huge farm.
The Audi 100 and A6 don’t surprise with some ultra-modern technology. The rear suspension uses a very simple rigid axle. The engine is large and very durable, as long as one does not insist on installing gas for the gasoline engine. It has a minimum capacity of 2 liters (except 1.8 in A6), and five and six cylinders.
If one is looking for savings, you can choose 2.5 TDI diesel. The five-cylinder engine can easily handle more than half a million kilometers. If a car has quattro drive, it costs a lot more.
Why is it worth buying the Audi 100 and A6?
Because this is a big and comfortable classic car that can be bought in good technical condition and kept at a cheap price. You can also rely on very rich equipment. There is no shortage of parts or mechanics to maintain it.
Mercedes cars are also very durable and can be stored cheaply, but 90 percent. Aftermarket cars undergo a lot of corrosion even if it’s not visible, has wreaked havoc. This is not the fault of the manufacturer, but of the owner.
The classic Audi 100 and A6 are not considered delivery vehicles, especially the sedan versions. There are many that are well maintained or at least good on the market. A car in good technical condition still provides a good level of safety, and in a company of a lot of money restored Mercedes cars this can be an attractive classic vehicle.
What do we recommend?
For normal operation all body and engine versions, for diesel 2.5 TDI or in model A6 1.9 TDI. As a youngtimer, the petrol versions of the R5 and V6 are best, even better with quattro drive and sedan body.
BMW 3 Series E36
- Produced in: 1990–1998
- Price: $ 400- $ 6,500
- Good price: From $ 2,700
- The potential for young people: great
Maybe the ugliest BMW 3 Series ever, but that’s just my opinion. At the same time, it may be the latter without significant losses affecting operating costs. It is not perfect, many units are neglected, but you can find something interesting.
It’s not too wide, especially at the rear, and the trunk has an average capacity of 435 liters (sedan) or 370 liters (station wagon). The Compact version is a slightly different car, but this description doesn’t apply to that. The benevolent BMW 3 Series offers, above all, driving characteristics and is not only about ride quality, but also spring comfort. Unfortunately, it is not very durable.
The same is not true for the engine, which could already be considered quite modern in the 1990s. Maybe not a diesel engine, but a fine petrol engine. Strong and very durable, although sometimes there are minor issues that cause the engine to overheat. However, overheating in BMW’s case does not mean exhaustion.
The multitude of engines and versions lets you find something to match, and the best part is only the 316i and 318i variants. Of course, that also applies to the diesel 318tds and the larger 325tds are also not worth considering.
The problem with classic BMW cars is the fact that they are used by ambitious young “tuners” and “drifters”, so most of them are after minor and major accidents or look tragic. Fortunately, the market is now seriously separating well-maintained cars. There are still a lot of these cars that you can find something interesting, especially if the car has a weak engine under the hood.
On the other hand, trimmed by BMW enthusiasts, the E36 is probably in better technical condition than most E90s. For a good car with a coupé or convertible body, you can pay up to $ 8,000. And it’s worth it! The elegant sedans and station wagons cost between $ 4,000 and $ 5,500 and you’ll find them in great shape.
Is it worth buying a BMW 3 Series E36?
Because this is one of the last genuine BMWs – technically and traditionally styled, and very mechanical at the same time. The E46 series is very similar and has all the best features, but it’s not going to be a young timer and the E36 is already one. For everyday use, this is a comfortable and elegant classic car, but only on condition that it is clean, well-groomed, well-maintained and not too tuned. There are still many cars on the market, so there are many options.
What do we recommend?
Every classic BMW E36 is well maintained with a petrol engine. In convertibles and coupes, the more powerful the engine, the better, a well-maintained sedan or station wagon even with a 1.6 engine. The better the technical and the visuals, the more this model breaks the stereotype of a “sportswear” car.
Honda Accord V
- Produced in: 1993–1998
- Price: $ 400 – $ 1,500
- Good price: From $ 1,200
- Potential for young people: practically none
The first Honda Accord was produced in Great Britain. Quality is a very good classic car, because technically it is still based on the fourth generation produced in Japan. Unfortunately, the downside of this classic car is corrosion, which causes damage to most components, although it’s not that severe.
It is a comfortable car with a very safe chassis and a low power engine which is durable. The dynamic silhouette of the long body can be enjoyed even today, and the station wagon, after lowering the suspension a bit, looks great for the money.
But let’s move on to the facts. The classic Honda Accord V is a car that can be used as a family vehicle and is cheap for tuning pleasure. The petrol engine may not be that impressive in terms of performance, but the 2.2 VTEC version has an incredible 150hp and drives well. It is best to forget about the diesel engine.
Opinions about the Rover unit are divided, but if you want to buy a Honda on diesel, set it aside for the accord VII. The engine is also replaceable – the iconic H22A engine. Unfortunately, this engine is no longer maintenance free like the standard unit.
The cabin can accommodate four adults who will be traveling in great shape, and the luggage compartment with a capacity of only 430 liters looks small. There is no shortage of equipment, and the quality of workmanship is at the highest level.
The specialty of this classic car is its durability. You can say that nothing will break, but that is not true. Nothing will break in the first 15 years of operation – that’s a fact. But now we have to do this and that. The quality of this car is evidenced by the fact that the user for many years does nothing and keeps on driving. Honda broken by the side of the road? Very original reason. Even if the engine runs without oil and coolant, you can still go home.
In the market, you have to differentiate between the European and American versions. The latter has a different front and rear like the Rover 600.The European one has the H badge on the grille and large taillights. This station wagon is based on the American version, so the front looks like a car from the USA.
Why is it worth buying a Honda Accord V?
I will not write here that this is a unique model or a cult of Honda. It’s just a spacious and sturdy sedan that will last longer than anything else. Convenient and cheap to operate. Even if something is broken, it doesn’t mean you have to fix it. The classic Accord will always take you home and that’s its biggest advantage.
What do we recommend?
Only the classic car is in good condition. This option is not very big, but if you don’t pay much attention to appearance, just buy what works. So it’s a better option than buying the Alfa 156 for $ 1,300.
Honda Civic 5th and 6th generation
- Produced in: 1991–1995 (5th generation) and 1995–2001 (6th generation)
- Price: $ 400- $ 4,000
- Price for a good unit: From $ 1,600
- Potential for young people: Practically not
The classic Civic is the smaller, but better-made, Accord. The fifth generation is produced in Japan, the sixth in the UK, but not all versions. Six of them added a station wagon and liftback, but the “real” Civic was a three-door car. Why is this real?
It is because of them that this model has become very popular. The low-key and sporty figure has found a group of young recipients and those who see it as a good material for creating tuning artwork. On the market you can find cars that according to vintage don’t cost more than $ 1,300.
The Honda Civic is a very tough car. This does not mean not breaking down at all, usually hitting some accessories and knick-knacks, but generally it is a vehicle that cannot be driven. Gasoline engines don’t even need oil. Many models run below the minimum lubricant level and nothing happens.
Visit any Honda Civic dealer and check. Of course without exaggerating, but if the Honda unit is sensitive to oil shortages, it will not last long, because the consumption is quite high. No users have complained about high fuel consumption, so that balance is maintained.
The engine is small but strong enough and the body is lightweight made of thin sheet metal so it is easy to rust. The dynamics of the Honda Civic are good even with the smallest 1.3 engine on a fifth generation carburetor.
What says VTEC on the engine cover is a real rocket between the front wheels, and with the VTi on the body, it’s a rocket with an afterburner. In addition, driving a car with fully independent suspension (multi-link) is exemplary. You don’t need a lot of money to keep the chassis in good shape – the back is nearly indestructible.
There are plenty of sports cars, and a Honda Civic theoretically isn’t, but it’s hard to find a car that’s cheaper and so fast and reliable at the same time. It is ideal for someone who is just looking for low performance and running costs. Access to spare parts is also very easy, and maybe all problems have been resolved on internet forums.
The practicality of the classic Honda Civic is not bad. Even the three-door ones, offer a lot of space, and the chassis is pretty decent too. The sixth generation liftback offers 380 liters and the station wagon offers 410 liters. This fifth generation sedan also has 380 liters of space, but the popular “egg” (3-door hatchback) is only 190 liters.
Nearly every body version has its own customer group who, once they got into the small Honda, seldom chose another brand’s car later on. Yes, the classic Civic has a weakness. Regardless of whether you choose the fifth or sixth generation, the interior will always be tough, brown to the body, and if it’s a three-door version and you are a young driver, the police will take notice of you.
Why is it worth buying a 5th or 6th generation Honda Civic?
Due to the ratio of the price to how reliable, dynamic and economical this model is, it remains unbeatable. The three-door version still looks great, and it doesn’t take much (aluminum rims plus a little lowered suspension) to look great.
The classic sedan, liftback, and station wagon can easily be used as the only car in the not-so-rich family. Despite the age and corrosion of many units on the market, mechanically it is a real masterpiece and one of the best compacts of this period.
What do we recommend?
I recommend this classic car especially for people who are looking for a small, light, compact car with a pair of doors, without high requirements in terms of functionality, and only for daily use. Whether it’s a coupé or a three-door hatchback – the Civic always looks good. The more powerful the engine, the higher the price.
But at the same time, the performance is better and the operating costs are higher. The liftback and station wagon in the very powerful VTi version (169 hp) are iconic. Reliability was never in question as long as the Honda engine worked in the gasoline compartment, not the Rover diesel.
Personally, however, I would recommend the weaker variety with no visible tuning – not even a sticker – and preferably on the hubcap or original wheels. Why is it so tempting? Because such cars are usually operated gently and in great shape. Sold for cheap, they are genuine gems among hundreds of units after modification. Fortunately, there are many options.
Mazda 626 GF
- Produced in: 1997–2002
- Price: $ 540 – $ 2,400
- Good unit price: From $ 1,900
- Potential for young people: very small
Do you want to buy a genuine Mazda? Then search for 626 and you will find what this brand has valued over the years. It’s so bland that it’s hard to believe someone bought it, but as an inconspicuous mid-range sedan, it’s just exemplary. It’s no wonder the 626’s main consumer is Germany.
The car has a spacious interior, is often well equipped and a trunk compartment with a capacity of 500 liters. The same goes for the less elegant but slightly more practical liftback. The station wagon offers less space, 487 liters.
Since the classic Mazda 626 is almost certain to come from the German market, you will get electricity, air conditioning and airbags as standard, although the latter is sometimes only in theory, as there have been many accidents used cars. The multi-link suspension rarely requires maintenance and is also very comfortable. For $ 1,900, you can buy a really good car that won’t rust as fast as its replacement, the Mazda 6.
The engine is lightweight and resistant to everything and so reliable, it’s even harder to exploit. The 2 liter petrol engine is the best source of propulsion. Not impressive with power (136 HP at most), but enough flexibility for normal driving. Japanese-made diesel, at that time, was producing 100 HP of power and required very little fuel. Even though as I wrote earlier, the body is very boring, it turns out to be timeless.
Why is it worth buying Mazda 626 GF?
Because it is difficult to find a cheaper mid-range car with such good equipment, it provides comfort and space at such a level, with high reliability. The potential for classics is somewhat neglected, but many well-maintained units can be pleasing to the eye.
What do we recommend?
Elegant sedan version with 2 liter petrol engine.
Nissan Almera N15
- Produced in: 1995–2000
- Price: $ 320 – $ 1,300
- Good unit price: From $ 1,000
- Potential for young people: none
The Nissan Almera N15 is a great successor to the highly reliable Sunny model. It is also the last compact Nissan that has not been touched by a partnership with Renault. It is also the opposite of the previously described Civic.
Not available in practical estate cars, but there are 3 and 5 door versions and sedans with a quiet and conservative design. Lack of association with a sporty driving experience means that almost no one tortures these classic cars. Nissan technology is perfect. This classic cars are very durable and very reliable, and parts and service are not an issue. This is Japanese Golf – very boring, simple and durable.
This classic car is an ideal and cheap compact car for people who need a trouble free car. The body is well protected from corrosion. The interior is depressing, but spacious and with a large luggage compartment.
The hatchback offers a 340 liter trunk, 440 liter sedan. The suspension is comfortably adjusted. The engine is simple, it is driven by a time chain, requires minimal maintenance. More economical than dynamic. The Nissan diesel engine is a timeless ass to work.
Why is it worth buying the Nissan Almera N15?
Since it was the latter, a completely Japanese Nissan, unlike the second generation, was still assembled in the Land of the Rising Sun. Its durability and reliability are beyond doubt. Corrosion resistance is higher than that of Civic, and the conservative silhouette may appeal to people who don’t want to stand out and hang out with grumpy young people.
In addition, the price of this decent classic car is very low, because Almera is not associated with anything. It’s hard to find a compact that is as durable for such a small amount of money.
What do we recommend?
In short, a classic car that is well kept.
Nissan Primera P10 / P11
- Produced in: 1990–1996 (P10) and 1996–2001 (P11)
- Price: $ 400 – $ 2,500
- Price for a good unit: From $ 1,900
- Potential for young timers: In the case of the P10 GTI version, the P11 may not
This time the classic Primera model is slightly larger which is very similar to the Mazda 626. Why is it similar? Because the car is built on the same principles – relatively simple technically, designed for reliable long-term use. The Nissan Primera P10 and P11 models are very similar and at the same time the last truly Japanese mid-range Nissan.
While the P10 from today’s point of view is nearly compact (4.4 m long), the P11 is clearly growing and looking timeless. It clearly has no chance of becoming a classic, and the P10 does, provided you find a well-maintained used car. It is not easy to get there, because it is a very durable car, so the user gets a very high mileage.
It sounds tempting, but it’s true. The more durable and reliable the model, the harder it is to get, according to the “you don’t have to do anything with it” principle. Unfortunately, the Primers P10 were like that, despite their drawbacks – for example, a not very durable manual gearbox.
The gear mechanic is no different. There were no major problems with the repair, but if you buy a $ 800- $ 1,000 car, you should pay attention to transmission work. In the P11, problems have been minimized, but other QG 1.8 series engines have emerged that use oil and time chains.
Although the P10 and P11 are structurally different, especially with the rear suspension, they are the same in terms of operation. The engine is generally armored, the diesel engine is not in progress, the suspension is resistant to road damage, but the body is prone to corrosion. These are the only major drawbacks of cars that you will find in the market. Just like other Japanese from that period.
The cabin accommodates four adults, and the luggage compartment has plenty of luggage. The P10 sedan offers 470 liters of luggage, the P11 is already 490 liters. In addition, an estate version is offered, 460 and 430 l respectively, and as a practical liftback with a luggage capacity of 460 and 505 l.
A well-made car drives properly, and the engine power is considered sufficient. In the market you will usually find gasoline engines with capacities of 1.6 and 1.8 liters, and 2.0. The attractive GT or GTI Primera version reaches 150 HP. This is an attractive proposition for those looking for better performance. Who doesn’t care, can choose a diesel 2.0 TD with 90 HP.
There are no problems with the operation and servicing of this classic car. Repairs are rare, although you can expect anything from a worn-out used car. You can find parts without problems, and the construction is simple enough that any mechanic can handle it.
Why is it worth buying the Nissan Primera P10 / P11?
Because, like the Mazda 626 or the Honda Accord V, this is a true Japanese car, made with durability in mind. One of the last mid-range Nissan and certainly the last in the old Japanese style. The car is durable, well driven and relatively economical. A good proposition for families looking for inexpensive means of transportation.
What do we recommend?
Personally, I would recommend the classic Primera P10 GT, but I know it’s not easy to find. This is a great material for young people. However, to be fair, I can only recommend the Primera P11 with a reasonable non-1.8 petrol engine, preferably in a practical liftback variant with a 2.0 engine.
Toyota Starlet 90 Series
- Produced in: 1996–1999
- Price: $ 540 – $ 1,600
- Price for a good unit: $ 1,050
- Potential for youth timers: No, but every well-preserved teen Toyota is a classic on its own
Now, because we have Honda, Mazda, and Nissan, it is impossible for Toyota to be lost. I can write about all the models in general here, because every Toyota from 1990–2001 has been great. However, let’s take a look at the top four models in my opinion.
We started with the little classic Starlet, which has gone very high in all reliability ratings over the years. Number one in this regard, although the Corolla is often mentioned in this regard. However, the classic Starlet model was a very simple model so it was very reliable and durable and is still the same today. It’s a shame that buying an air-conditioned car isn’t possible, but this doesn’t just apply to Toyota in this period.
The small Japanese car manufacturer from the 90 series was offered in the second half of the 90s, and the Yaris became its successor. If you look only at reliability and operating costs, Toyota has taken a step back.
The classic Starlet is a completely unattractive car, too small for most people, and the trunk compartment holds only 225 l. The silhouette isn’t that great, especially at the rear, and the engine is basically just 1.3l. Strikes are rare, so there’s nothing to talk about. The interior is also very neat, and well organized.
In fact, the only engine on offer is a simple 1.3 liter petrol engine with manual valve rotation and a timing belt. So it’s not maintenance free, but minimum service is all you need to do with it.
More serious illness indicates widespread neglect or a lack of services. Like the drive unit, the suspension and driveline are extremely durable. Of course, something had to be done there, but always at a low cost. There is no shortage of parts, and a car in good condition could easily serve the 10 year old Yaris. Or maybe even longer?
Why is it worth buying a Toyota Starlet?
Usually a car like that is bought for a maximum of $ 815, right? You can buy a Toyota Starlet for $ 1,050 or even $ 1,600. Why? Because the owner knows its value. This is a great urban car, the best in class from that period.
If you are just looking for a classic car of this size to drive your day-to-day, don’t think about any other model, another model that is cheaper than any of France, Italy or Japan. Starlet beat them all over the head.
What do we recommend?
Find neat used cars from the last years and keep them till the end. Resale may not pay off unless it becomes a classic, but the car will keep going for the rest of your life.
Toyota Corolla VII (E10)
- Produced in: 1992–1997
- Price: $ 540 – $ 2,500
- Good unit price: From $ 1,500
- Potential for youth timers: Small
It is thanks to this generation of Corolla models that many countries have learned what a reliable car means. Although in several countries until recently, they believed that the Golfs II was the most reliable, the Corolla was the car that never broke down.
Technically, they don’t have much to offer, but in terms of operation they are still the most sought-after models today. This is the last generation of the reliable Toyota Corolla, although its successors are notorious for their low failure rates.
The car is offered in several body versions and even as a 3-door hatchback it is very expensive. The classic compact car has the smallest trunk, 330 liters, but the sedan already offers 420 liters. The station wagon has a 396 liter luggage compartment, and the liftback with a 400 liter luggage compartment turns out to be the most spacious.
Although smaller than the sedan, it is much easier to use and, contrary to appearance, practical and more spacious. The problem is that the liftback looks its worst, although the same can be said for the Corolla VIII.
The classic Toyota Corolla E10 is an everyday ordinary car. It has a comfortable suspension and a smooth engine. The exception is the rare sports version with a 1.6 16V 160 HP engine. The drive unit has a simple design, requires periodic maintenance, but does not cause major problems.
In gasoline-powered cars, the valve seats often fail, but there is only one reason – neglect of valve adjustment. The most popular petrol units are 1.4 (75-88 hp) and 1.3 (75 hp). 114 hp 1.6 is less common. Diesel is a powerful 72 hp 2.0 D engine that you can drive and function as well, but it would be hard to find a really good engine these days.
Why is the Corolla VII (E10) worth buying?
What does the classic Corolla have to offer today? Theoretically nothing, but the car is a legend of reliability. In my personal opinion, the polish is much better than the Corolla VIII (E11). Rather than buying a pre-lift E11, look around and look for a better, more durable E10.
What do we recommend?
Well-maintained items from the showroom with a history of servicing. Year, engine and body versions are secondary affairs. Contrary to appearances, you can find them, and there are also genuine treasures worth several thousand dollars.
Toyota RAV4 I
- Produced in: 1994–2000
- Price: $ 1,500 – $ 3,500
- Good unit price: From $ 2,700
- Potential for young people: Not bad, but still have to wait a little longer
This is one of the first mid-range crossovers to hit the market. This model is slowly becoming a classic in today’s relatively fresh segment. You will be paying a fortune for this used car which is well kept and still worth it.
When the debut of the first generation RAV4, all European manufacturers were far behind. The car turned out good. The body still shows good off-road capability due to the high suspension, relatively narrow wheels, and good off-road geometry.
For this permanent four-wheel drive, which has an inter-axle differential lock (not every car). Anyway, the first generation RAV4 in my opinion is the best Toyota SUV ever made. It has a figure that is timeless, but fits well with younger timers, and the solution is simple and durable.
Only the 2.0L petrol engine was imperfect at first, but nowadays only a few have controller problems. If the car is being driven off-road, maybe the body is already tense and you need to check the relatively smooth chassis, but it is still worth considering buying this car.
Yes, it theoretically has a small trunk, no room for LPG cylinders, and the interior is no more spacious than in the classic Corolla, but as a recreational SUV for the occasional commute, it’s better than anything on offer at the time. Yes, including the Suzuki Grand Vitara.
See car prices. A prettier, though not well-maintained, cut starts at over $ 2,500, and we’re talking about a model whose production was discontinued in 2000. Such a car doesn’t deserve to cost that much. Often you can buy this used car from the first or second owner who is reluctant to part with it.
In short – he knows its worth. The first generation RAV4 was as reliable as the Corolla, did not cost more to operate, and could do a lot in the field. It’s a shame the 5-door version doesn’t exist, but even the short classic Toyota RAV4 is cool. In contrast to the first generation Honda HR-V which was rusty and made no sense.
Why is it worth buying a Toyota RAV4?
Being a classic, and looking at the price, they don’t really want to fall. This cheap and fashionable crossover car is fully equipped and has a good driveline. The RAV4 II is more practical, but I think you will find a lot of drawbacks.
What do we recommend?
5-door variant for daily use, and 3-door version for traveller.
Toyota Carina E
- Produced in: 1992–1997
- Price: $ 650 – $ 1,800
- Good unit price: From $ 1,500
- Potential for young people: Practically none
One more last classic Japanese car from the middle class, this time from Toyota. In my opinion the Carina E looks the worst among the Japanese cars presented, but in practice it might be the best. Provided you find this decent used car, and it’s not easy.
A sturdy and comfortable classic car with a nice interior. The first Avensis, which was bigger in practice, looked compact with Carina. The equipment of many of these used cars leaves nothing to be desired, and the quality of workmanship is very high. At a level that Avensis has never reached.
Because no classic Avensis offers a comfortable ride. Its spaciousness also makes us no longer hesitate to drive a middle class car. And the luggage compartment, which holds 545 liters in the liftback, is everything you’ll want to carry on long journeys. The sedan was simpler in this respect (470 l), and the station wagon also did not fit the heel (485 l).
Carina is a car made for traveling. On the one hand, simple, on the other hand, reliable, on the third, relatively modern for cars from the 90s and, most importantly, comfortable. The suspension is not suitable for driving at high speeds. This is similar in the case of very economical machines that you can count on if you maintain them regularly. An attractive 1.6 unit working on a lean mix can burn less than many compacts.
Why is it worth buying a Toyota Carina E?
Because it’s the last so good Toyota in this segment, it’s hard to say a bad word about the Avensis. Unfortunately, Avensis has experienced some quality glitches, and the classic Carina E is already at the pinnacle of the brand’s capabilities in terms of reliability. In addition, a very comfortable family model, which, unfortunately, is difficult to find in good condition.
What do we recommend?
Only used cars that are properly stored, preferably with AC and ABS.
Volkswagen Golf III
- Produced in: 1991–1997
- Price: PLN 1,000 – PLN 15,000
- Price for good coffee: from PLN 5,000
- Potential for young people: practically none, except for a special version
Yes, I do agree that this is the ugliest Golf of all its seven generations and has almost no potential for the classics (except for the GTI, VR6 and Convertible), but as a cheap compact car from the 90’s, it’s a very good car. Not sold like other generations, and at the same time practical and economical.
The economy of this classic car lies not in an economical engine or excellent reliability, but in the fact that spare parts can be bought cheaply, and any mechanic will fix them, as long as he has a wrench and a screwdriver. What should have been a mess is crumbling and it is easy to buy a well-maintained car on the market, but you will have to pay from $ 1,300 and up. You’ll also spend this much on the newer and safer fourth generation, but you’ll only be buying scraps.
The leaps made by Golf III compared to its predecessors are enormous. Even though Golf II has become a classic, you need to have a different attitude to drive it, Golf III is still an ordinary car. It has a quite spacious interior with a trunk capacity of 320 liters, but this car is classified as a family car with 465 liters of luggage. However, it is not what is inside but behind the tent that deserves to be recognized.
The engine installed in the Golf III can be considered the best in this model range. Simple petrol engines and reliable diesel engines, are not without flaws, but they can make 400,000 km and continue driving. The Golf III also features a TDI engine, which still uses traditional pumps, making costly damage impossible. The TDI engine is so economical that you can easily cover more than 1000 km in one tank.
Why is it worth buying a Volkswagen Golf III?
Because it is the oldest Golf even though it resembles a modern car. It drives normally and although it is not very durable the operating costs will always be very low.
What do we recommend?
Like the classic, only special versions like VR6, GTI or Cabrio. Only maintained cars with air conditioning for normal driving. It is worth looking better for this used car. Cars with TDI engines are still highly valued.
Volkswagen Passat B3 / B4
- Produced in: 1988–1993 (B3) and 1993–1996 (B4)
- Price: $ 400 – $ 2,500
- Good unit price: From $ 1,500
- Potential for young timers: Great for B3, whereas B4 may still have its own time
Passat B3 / B4 as described in the first part of the Audi 80, but has some advantages and disadvantages. It may not be very well protected from corrosion, but offers more space. Until now, such a solid Passat has not been created like the B3 and B4.
This is the last Passat which is arguably a cheap classic car. Without modern electronics and complex solutions to the chassis. Simple and reliable vehicles in the city and in the field. It’s definitely a joke, but in the countryside it’s the equivalent of a multi-purpose car – a van every day, a “limousine” on Sundays. If you want to be treated as an elegant mid-range vehicle, there will be more sedans on the market. Meanwhile, the sedan only comes from Germany from the first owner, who has been in for years and only drives it once a month.
Passat B3 and B4 advantages – I’m writing about cars together, as B4 is basically a facelift B3 – especially on space, luggage capacity, functionality and ride comfort. The station wagon has a capacity of 465 liters and a 495 liter sedan. In practice, the station wagon seemed to be able to hold them all. The interior will fit four adults and will be comfortable for them.
The engines on the B3 / B4 are fitted as needed, that is, transverse and are the perfect unit for this classic car. Contrary to the looks of it, even a 1.8 liter petrol with 75 HP is suitable for this car. The gear ratio is very good. The 1.8 16V engine is the original rocket, and also the diesel engine of the TDI family is ideal. Keep it simple and very economical, yet dynamic. Unlike the old 1.6 TD installed in the B3, which is not impressive in terms of dynamics.
Operationally, Passat is a model. Undamaged, like the classic Audi 80, although more corrosive. You can buy spare parts anywhere and they are always cheap, mechanics will always fix them cheaply, unless you decide to replace the VR6 and the mechanic doesn’t understand what machine it is. The 400,000 km mileage didn’t make an impression on the Passat, and an overload of half a ton only caused braking and some property damage.
Why is it worth buying a Volkswagen Passat B3 / B4?
Because it’s already a legend? Not necessarily. It’s hard to find a classic car that’s more practical and functional in this class for the same money. It is the only mid-range model that can confidently compete with Japanese competitors in all respects, including reliability. So, if you are looking for a very cheap or older D-segment car, the Passat, and preferably the B4, it is a must see in our list of cars to watch.
What do we recommend?
Passat B3 doesn’t matter what version, but in the best technical condition. B4 is a proposal for people looking for bigger space on wheels, cheaper to maintain and buy.
Volvo 740 and 850
- Produced in the years: 1984–1993 (740) and 1991–1997 (850)
- Price: $ 815 – $ 3,000
- Price for a good unit: From $ 1,800
- Potential for Young People: 740 is a classic, while 850 is slowly becoming one
At the end of the list of old classics that are still worth buying, I leave behind the quite controversial Volvo. Why is it controversial? Because it’s hard to go wrong in terms of functionality, spaciousness, travel comfort and durability, but the cost of repairs can be high or very high. However, the car breaks down so rarely that it is impossible to lose it here.
However, at first I wanted to point out that the Volvo 700 and 800 series should be considered classics. This should not be bought by people who are also considering the Audi 80 or 100, Volkswagen Passat or Mazda 626, as these are very different types of cars in care.
Volvo may be as durable as Mercedes in its prime years, but unlike Mercedes, the prices of some parts can be exorbitant. The availability of cheap substitutes is rather rare. Often, some elements have to be searched for on the Internet or in an authorized repair shop. The Swedish car repair shop will find everything you need.
Coming back to the this calssic car, the model known as the 740 is a car in almost the same class as the 850, but these cars should be treated differently. The 700 series is quite old now, but production of the 850 ended in 1997, so you can buy a car that’s complete and it still looks good. In fact, its production ended in 2000, but under the name S70 / V70, although in many opinions the quality is not like that anymore.
Contrary to the size of these cars, the trunk does not break records. The station wagon only has a capacity of 420 liters and is spread over a large area, but overall is shallow. However, it’s still better than the 740 rear-wheel drive, where the trunk compartment is even flatter. Volvo 850 with front wheel drive, although not very classic, it is safer. Also equipped with a better interior, because in the after-sale market you can find art with everything in it.
The engines are mostly 5-cylinder engine, so it won’t be cheap during repairs. Also during servicing, but it is difficult to drive a classic Volvo engine. Even turbocharged ones with more than 200 HP are extremely durable. Unfortunately, it does not withstand harsh conditions like in other cars. Diesel 2.5 TDI is very easy to use.
This is the same engine that powers the Audi 100. There are no issues with performance, but the performance is adequate and the durability matches the Volvo brand. Unfortunately, failing a petrol unit can break the budget, which is why Volkswagen diesel is such a safe choice for everyday driving. If you want to buy a Volvo 740, it’s best to choose gasoline that is aspirated naturally and so you can sleep well.
Unfortunately, in the case of both models, gasoline requires a lot of fuel to drive the car efficiently, so the fuel system doesn’t work or what I mentioned earlier – treats the car like a classic. Even diesel engines don’t burn as little as the kind of fuel they use.
Why is it worth buying a Volvo 740 or 850?
Because this is the last very reliable and durable Volvo, a classic car, which is made according to the idea of this brand. Whichever series you choose, you get a genuine genuine Volvo. The car is aimed more at people who are aware of the high potential expenditures, but if you want a car of this brand, the 70 series doesn’t have to be better than the 850.
What do we recommend?
In the case of the 850, the maintained model with a high-powered turbo petrol engine that will provide a lot of driving pleasure or with a 2.5 TDI diesel engine for peace of mind and durability. The Volvo 740 is best found with naturally aspirated gasoline.
The classic cars presented in this material, regardless of their age, may be alternatives to the younger, newer generation, or simply cheap vehicles for everyday driving. They can also be treated like young people, although of course not all models are presented here.
At the same time, I want to point out that the list remains open, and I select only the best classic models from different brands in my opinion. Due to low supply on the market, some very interesting cars are missing here.